Mr Frank Fuseini Adongo, Deputy Upper East Regional Minister has called for a unified front in the fight against child trafficking and modern day slavery in the region.
He lamented the continuous abuse and trafficking of children to unknown destinations and stressed that available information Points to 30,000 children believed to be working in Ghana as potters, with majority of them coming from northern parts of the country.
Mr Adongo made the call when he addressed participants at this year’s World Anti-Slavery Day celebrated annually on October 18 to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery.
The day was to encourage Government, Local authorities, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and individuals among other entities to find ways to address the problem.
Mr Adongo said government was not relenting on its oars and added that measures had been put in place to reduce incidences of the menace and indicated that efforts at strengthening basic education and the provision of Free Senior High School were key steps to minimizing child trafficking in the region.
Other interventions the Deputy Minister noted were the institution of Anti-Human Trafficking Unit at the Ghana Police Service to ensure that trafficking of children was halted.
He added that government had put in place avenues to create enabling environment for families under the Microfinance and Small Loans Center (MASLOC), planting for food and jobs and the One-Village-One Dam policies to reduce poverty.
The Deputy Minister commended partners such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), who sponsored the event, Afrikids Ghana, the Core groups and other entities who are partners in the fight against child trafficking in the region.
The event was observed by school children who carried placards some of which read: “Stop child trafficking”, “Put the protocol against child trafficking to work. ”, “Child trafficking is destroying the future”, “Report all forms of child trafficking and slavery to appropriate authorities” among others.
Mrs Linda Marfo, Director of Programmes at Afrikids in a solidarity message renewed commitment of her outfit to the course, and noted that the two year partnership with NSPCC was worthwhile as it provided a platform for stakeholders to contribute evidence of what works well and which interventions were needed to address child trafficking.
She acknowledged the children’s Act 1998, Human trafficking Act 2005 and the Child and family welfare policies enacted to address the problem.
She said “the nature of human trafficking is complex, and multifaceted hence it posed a significant challenge for development of anti -trafficking policies, because, the root cause of the crime is deeper than any one facet and relate to larger systemic conditions such as poverty, forced migration among others”.
To this end she indicated that understanding the menace in the local context was critical to developing meaningful responses to the issue.
She thanked all partners including NSPCC, Traditional authorities, the Domestic Violence Support Unit (DOVSU), the Ghana Education Service, the Department of Gender, Transport Unions and the Security Services for their support.